Brilliant comment from Miguel Guhlin on Al Upton’s blog which I just have to refer to here. Writing with just a modicum of hyperbole, Miguel illustrates the tensions that I referred to in my previous blog entry, of a system that is resistant to the very essence of change that is impacting on it from every quarter, and where the pedagogy of assessment continues to drive the pedagogy of instruction!
Al, as a school district administrator myself, but also, as a citizen of the United States, I have to confess that I’m a bit grateful your blog has been shut down and Australian children denied the opportunity to engage in global collaobrations and learning. Here’s why:
In the United States, blogs are distractions to the real job of educators to improve student achievement on accountability measures. Blogs, as tools for online publishing, engage students with access to an authentic audience–that sometimes, let’s be honest, can be TOO authentic if you get what I mean–and may result in divergent learning that is, to be frank, unsuitable to preparing children for yesterday’s workforce. We want children who are literate, but lack that attitude that would hurt their careers and survival in our workforce…it is our goal to establish (and we’ve done an excellent job aside from your blogging efforts) a, what Paulo Friere calls, “domesticating” educational experience.
Secondly, you’ve no doubt read of books like Wikinomics, The World is Flat, and A Whole New Mind…these are books that speak to the interconnectedness of world affairs, peer productions–companies working in tandem across the globe to create a new product marketed to millions on the web–necessary in the future. I’m honestly grateful that Australians will be barred from this world, prevented from joining peer producers in the world. To be honest, in the United States, there’s been a bit of concern that you Australians (not to mention New Zealanders) have been engaging too rapidly in this new virtual world.
It’s a relief to know that you’ll be “dummed down” to join the United States in a slower realization of these truths. Some argue that we need to distinguish between using technology as a way to empower students, facilitate communication/collaboration at a distance rather than using technology to domesticate our students, helping them achieve basic skills that won’t get them much farther anyways. But you see, in this competitive, global economy, disempowering YOUR children may allow mine to do well.
Al, take a hit for the opposite team. Rejoice that my students will whip your’s when it comes to working online, and that you won’t have distractions when drilling students in basic skills.
With appreciation for the lack of leadership in your part of the world,
Miguel Guhlin Around the Corner-MGuhlin.net
U.S. School District Administrator